The 10 Best Jobs in Healthcare (and How Much They Pay)

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Choosing a career, for some, can be a walk in the park. For others, it can a daunting and highly confusing task, especially if you don’t know what you want to do in life.

But if TV shows like Grey’s Anatomy, ER and House have made you think ‘I should be a doctor’, perhaps you’re onto something. You may just be cut out for a job in healthcare.

But, the question remains: what should you do?

In no particular order, here are the 10 best jobs in healthcare for a little inspiration!

1. Pharmacists

What They Do: Pharmacists are multi-skilled professionals who review and dispense prescribed medications to patients. They may also run screening programmes for diabetes, cholesterol or blood pressure and provide other basic healthcare advice.

What They Earn: Salaries range between £26,500 and £83,000 in the UK, depending on the level of experience. In the US, the average annual salary is $122,230 (£92,167).

How to Become One: A four-year MPharm degree is typically required. You also need to complete additional training (one year in the UK and one to two years in the US), as well as register with the relevant body.

2. Speech and Language Therapists

What They Do: Also sometimes known as speech-language pathologists and speech therapists, these healthcare professionals diagnose and treat communication and swallowing disorders in children and adults, resulting from causes such as brain injury, hearing loss and Parkinson’s disease.

What They Earn: Starting salaries for SLTs begin at £22,000 a year and can increase to up to £41,000 with experience. In the US, they typically earn $74,680 (£56,316).

How to Become One: You’ll usually need a degree in speech and therapy or human communication. In the US, a master’s degree is the minimum requirement.

3. Dentists

What They Do: Dentists use their skills, knowledge and special instruments to diagnose and treat problems with patients’ teeth, gums and related parts of the mouth. Typical dental treatments include fillings and repairs, extractions, and fitting dentures and bridges.

What They Earn: Dentists are among the highest paid healthcare professionals, with potential earnings reaching £110,000 per year. The average salary for dentists in the US is $159,770 (£120,372).

How to Become One: You’ll generally need to complete a degree in dentistry – don’t forget to check out list of the best dental schools in the world! You’ll also need to register with the relevant local association.

4. Surgeons

What They Do: Surgeons specialise in operating on patients to treat injuries (such as broken bones), deformities (such as cleft palates) and diseases (such as cancerous tumours).

What They Earn: The average annual salary for surgeons ranges between £26,350 and £102,500. Surgeons working in the US typically earn about $208,000.

How to Become One: Becoming a surgeon is a lengthy process, and can sometimes take up to 15 years. You’ll first need to be accepted on and then complete an approved medical degree (which generally lasts four years in the US, five in the UK), followed by intense specialist training.

5. Psychiatrists

What They Do: Psychiatrists specialise in the diagnosis and treatment of patients with mental health problems, like depression, eating disorders, schizophrenia, bipolar disorder and dementia.

What They Earn: Trainee psychiatrists in the UK earn about £26,350. With experience, they can earn up to £102,500. In the US, they typically earn $87,890–$162,620 (£66,238–£122,558).

How to Become One: You’ll first need a degree in medicine, followed by specialist training which generally lasts up to eight years.

6. Audiologists

What They Do: As an audiologist, you will be responsible for diagnosing and treating patients’ hearing, ear and balance problems. You may also be involved in counselling patients and their families to help them adjust to hearing loss and balance disorders.

What They Earn: The starting salary for audiologists in the UK is £22,000–£28,500. With experience, this increases to £41,500. In the US, audiologists earn, on average, $75,980 (£57,282) a year.

How to Become One: In the UK, you’ll need to complete the NHS Practitioner Training Programme (PTP). In the US, you’ll need to obtain a degree in audiology (AuD).

7. Occupational Therapists

What They Do: An occupational therapist works with ill, injured or disabled patients to help them develop, recover, improve and maintain the skills needed for everyday living and working.

What They Earn: Occupational therapists earn between £21,500 and £41,000, depending on experience. In the US, the average salary is $81,910 (£61,756).

How to Become One: A degree or postgraduate qualification is essential. You also need to register with the relevant body.

8. Nurses

What They Do: These healthcare professionals provide first-hand care and support to patients in a variety of clinical settings. They possess a unique skillset and can specialise in a variety of areas, including paediatrics, intensive care and community nursing. 

What They Earn: Nurses typically make £22,000–£48,000 in the UK, and an average $68,450 (£51,620) in the US. Both the UK and the US are included in our list of the best countries with the highest paying salaries for nurses.

How to Become One: To work as a nurse in the UK, you’ll need to complete a degree in adult nursing, register with the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) and get clearance from the Disclosure and Barring Service. In the US, you’ll need either a Bachelor of Science in nursing (BSN), an associate’s degree (ADN) or a diploma from an approved nursing programme.

9. Physical Therapists

What They Do: Also known as physiotherapists, these healthcare professionals work with ill or injured people, including children and older patients, to help them improve their movement and manage their pain.

What They Earn: In the UK, physiotherapists make between £22,000 and £41,000 per year. In the US, the average salary is $85,400 (£64,429).

How to Become One: A physiotherapy degree or postgraduate award approved by the Health and Care Professional Council (HCPC) is essential if working in the UK. To become a physical therapist in the US, you’ll need a Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) degree.

10. Anaesthesiologists

What They Do: Anaesthesiologists, or anaesthetists, provide anaesthetics to patients before, during and after surgery. They also observe and monitor patients during surgery.

What They Earn: They’re among the best-paid professionals in healthcare. In the UK, salaries range between £26,350 and £102,500, while in the US they average $208,000 (£156,889) per year or about $100 (£75) per hour.

How to Become One: A medical degree and specialist training is essential. The entire training period can last as long as 15 years.

Are you currently considering pursuing one of these careers? Perhaps you’ve already completed the journey in your chosen field and would like to offer some tips and advice to future healthcare professionals? Join the conversation down below and share your thoughts and experiences with us!


Job profiles are based on data compiled and published by the National Careers Service and the US Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Occupational Outlook Handbook.

Currency conversions are based on rates supplied by on 20 November 2017.